Eight qualify for State Choir
Last Saturday marked one of the many big events of the year for the choirs at Garden City High School. The annual KSHSAA All-State Choir Concert took place at the Century II multi-purpose building in Wichita.
Garden City had eight performers qualify and participate in the event: Seniors Chinasa Ekweariri, Daryan Martinez, Deanna Milligan, Jonathan Nguyen, and Tevin Rincones, juniors Bradley Cunningham and Haley Regan, and sophomore Trace Woods.
To qualify for state, participants are transported to Dodge City Middle School to audition. The tryout consists of the performer singing previously-designated sections of three songs. In the room with the performers are three judges facing away from the singer (to prevent school bias). Each judge gives the participant a score, and the scores are all added together to calculate the overall score of the tryout. This tryout is very important for the performer, as it is the tryout for both District Choir and All-State Choir.
“I actually felt horrible about (my tryout) because I had the flu during my audition,” Nguyen said, “I was absolutely shocked that I made State.”
Once all the scores are added up, the qualifiers for District Choir are chosen. The District concert consists of working with an in-state clinician and singing the three selections (the full song) plus two new songs. A singer must attend District Choir to even be considered for making All-State Choir.
“State rehearsals were a lot more in depth than District’s, and a lot more was expected from us,” Martinez said.
It is a long wait to find out if you have made All-State Choir for the singers who auditioned. It takes almost a month to find out if you made it. For some, it seems like an excruciating amount of time to wait.
I felt like I was waiting forever,” Ekweariri said, “I checked the website over and over for three hours.”
Once the selections are made, students rush to the State KMEA website to check the roster to see if their name is on it. The singers are very excited when they learn they have made State.
“I was thrilled when I saw my name on the list for State,” Regan said, “I was super excited.”
This year, there were more people to make KSHSAA All-State Choir than usual. Last year, GCHS had a mere two representatives, as compared to this year’s eight. Senior Deanna Milligan has made All-State Choir for three years straight (Students are not allowed to make All-State Choir their Freshman year in high school).
State consists of learning three new songs in addition to the three original tryout pieces. Students rehearse/work with the All-State clinician a total of three days before performing the concert. This year’s clinician was the Director of LSU’s Acapella Choir, Dr. Kenneth Fulton.
“The whole experience definitely made me grow as a musician,” Martinez said of the experience, “I loved being around all of those talented people.”
The general feeling of the State qualifiers was that they were moved by the experience and that their talents improved from the event.
“I had an awesome time at State,” Nguyen said, “It was a whole different environment than I’m used to, and I learned so much from not only the clinician, but also the other participating students there.”